KOBI FARHI: "ROGER WATERS BEHAVED LIKE THE LEAST OF THE IDIOTIC POLITICIANS."
Orphaned Land: The Underworld, London
Sunday 20th November 2016
Words: Steve Göldby, Pictures: Mary Liles
All is one for the inspirational Kobi Farhi of Orphaned Land and his words may well resonate for as long as those of King David. It's certainly a powerful and big message that Orphaned Land are spreading but do certain countries want peace and unity?
"Jews and Arabs, and any other person who had a conflict, can get along. We need to change the education system," says Kobi, who was in town for the last of eighteen concerts in eighteen days across ten European countries.
"Nobody is right - we're all wrong," observes Kobi, who faces every tough issue regarding the turmoils in his home region full on and with superior intelligence, honesty and dignity. He's a truly enlightening figure and his views on where religion fits into 21st Century society and how artists should bring harmony demand a far wider audience. It's coming, that much is guaranteed.
But like any visionary, Kobi, who could rightfully be described as a "mercy to mankind", is not without his detractors and on Roger Waters' campaign against Israel, he has this to say:
"He is one of the greatest musicians of our times but that said, he is one of the most stupid artists combining politics that I have ever met in my life.
"Roger Waters just behaved like the least of the idiotic politicans and that is very disappointing because he's such an amazing musician. He could have gained much more with playing a show, making an interview, saying that there is a problem... I say that there is a problem. I'm not closing my eyes, there is a problem, but what I do, I take a Palestinian band to tour with me and we get the Metal Hammer award, I share it with them...
"Unfortunately I am not as big and strong as Roger Waters but I think that we succeed to do more than what he does because boycott is not the answer."
Kobi had much, much more to say about Rogers Waters and many other fascinating and important subjects during our twenty minute conversation.
Orphaned Land's music may well give you a taste of Heaven but it's unlikely we will be ascending there for real, because in Kobi's words: "Not even Dio or Lemmy, who were the ones who really deserve to go that way if you ask me."
Here's possibly our most edifying conversation to date, in full.
"Evil falls on each of us, there's nothing new,
Who cares if you're a Muslim or a Jew,
The awakened ones are nothing but a few,
And the one to make the difference now is you."
The message clearly is getting through if the attendance at The Underworld is anything to go by on this (English) Sabbath evening because this multi-cultural audience transcended music and Heavy Metal.
All creeds, colours, races and religions were represented here tonight and the music spoke volumes as Metal showed how it can unite the world and Orphaned Land showed how they can tear down barriers of division and overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
"Upon this stage these words I sing,
Peace to all men is the dream I wish to bring, yeah..."
The smile on guitarist Chen Balbus' face is not only infectious, but it serves as a symbol of forthcoming and impending deliverance, that the mess can be turned into a message, the test into testimony, the trial into triumph and the victim into victory.
And like a tree planted by the rivers of water and bringing forth fruit, Kobi Farhi enchants and offers hope through his songs. It was Buddha who said: "Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace," but Kobi has many and they all ring true and speak as loud as Matan Shmuely's drums to an audience standing as one and sharing their total belief that this is the way, the truth and the life.
"I grew tired from these endless years of (Our) fight,
From a tiny corner stone we may build our realm of light,
Please hear me, brother..."
'Let The Truce Be Known' resonates, as though there must be over 50,000, screaming love and more while 'Brother' provides an emotional moment though there is no Flevit super illam here, just a triumph of hope over helplessness and a clear statement that the singer will not be silenced and neither will life itself be.
'Birth Of The Three (The Unification)' sees Kobi in full raconteur mode and with the crowd now hanging on his every move and word, he can do no wrong and 'Sapari' drives the point home with a force so powerful it could raise Lazarus from the dead.
"We raise our hands and walk,
Upright to move towards each other,
No guns, no death between,
The enemies now turned to brothers."
'El Meod Na'Ala' is preceeded by an astonishing bouzouki solo by guitarist Idan Amsalem and the encores, although tinged with a slice of regret borne of awareness that the end is now nigh, resonate long into the night as the songs of Orphaned Land offer a simple solution to a world whose troubles are many.
Hearts melt when the Beloved is mentioned. ויהי אור.